October 12, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — Already reeling from a pair of scandals, the Internal Revenue Service is drawing new criticism over plans to hand out millions of dollars in employee bonuses.
The Obama administration has ordered agencies to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts, but the IRS says it’s merely following legal obligations under a union contract.
The agency is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses, said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the IRS.
‘The White House happens to gain in a major way from all of this’
Outrage over National Security Administration surveillance measures of American citizens actually comes as a welcome relief for President Obama, argued radio host Aaron Klein on Sunday.
The reason, Klein posited on New York City’s WABC Radio, is that the fury will actually distract America from other scandals – namely the Benghazi massacre and the IRS tea-party targeting – that hold much more power to do the White House harm.
“Yet now this NSA scandal is going to dominate the headlines for a long time, as opposed to the other scandals that have the potential to bring down members of the Obama administration, maybe even the president himself,” Klein told WND in an interview after the show. “It’s classic distraction by overload.”
“The White House happens to gain in a major way from all of this,” Klein said on New York’s WABC Radio.
Even Democrats join surge of dissatisfaction in unprecedented numbers
Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
The faux stone columns from his Denver acceptance speech are crumbling, the fireworks have fizzled and the unadulterated adulation of Barack Obama is a sour feeling of disillusion, as a new poll reveals half of Americans wants him impeached, including a stunning one in four Democrats.
“Half or nearly half of those surveyed said they believed Obama should be impeached for the trifecta of scandals now consuming Washington.”
May 16, 2013
Without any direction from the President, if you believe the current denials, the IRS went on a politically-motivated rampage that turned its own agents into weapons of intimidation and censorship against any non-profit which taught the Constitution or used conservative buzzwords like “We the People.”
As part of its campaign of tyranny, the IRS demanded from the groups titles of all the books they had recently read, details of Facebook posts and names of all their donors. They even asked for the names of students they taught! Applications for non-profit status were routinely denied or delayed, and a huge number of individuals including Catholic priests were warned that if they didn’t stay silent about opposing Obama, they would be “scrutinized” even further (i.e. audited or worse).
Obama says he knows nothing about any of this, even though he was of course the primary beneficiary of all this activity. But let’s assume he’s telling the truth for a moment, as bizarre as that idea may seem to most. If Obama really knew nothing about all this, it paints an even more frightening picture of a rogue government group with unlimited power that answers to no one and does whatever it wants, regardless of the legality of its actions or directions from Washington.
And then, once the truth comes out and the criminal behavior is exposed, those who carried out the crimes say, “We were just doing what our bosses told us” while their bosses — the heads of government — say, “We had no idea what these people were doing. They went rogue!”
Lawless government out of control
What the IRS scandal really proves is that big government is completely out of control. Give an unelected group a bureaucrats enough power — the IRS is run by appointees who don’t answer to voters — and they will sooner or later construct fiefdoms of corruption and criminality.
This is a universal law of bureaucracy. What the IRS did to conservative groups, the FDA is routinely doing to natural products manufacturers and supplement companies. It’s what the DEA is doing to medical marijuana dispensaries and what the FTC is doing to religious ministries that also happen to sell herbs for cancer.
All bureaucracies become criminal mobs if given enough time and power. This is a screaming red flag with a clear message: Government is TOO BIG, too complex, too powerful and is operating far outside its limits of power.
Government is the biggest threat to freedom and justice in America today.
In fact, this IRS criminality has been going on since at least 2010, and the agency has been getting away with it until just now when a few facts just happen to come to light. No one knows just how many people have been threatened and intimidated, mobster-style, by the IRS which focused its efforts on intimidating those who were speaking out against Obama. Technically, this behavior by the IRS calls into question the validity of the entire 2012 presidential election. Had the IRS not been engaged in overtly criminal activity to suppress the free speech of non-profits critical of big government, the election may have very well turned out differently.
Government bureaucracies answer to no one
What’s even more frightening in all this is that government bureaucracies — FDA, IRS, DEA, FTC, etc. — ultimately answer to no one. And when they break the laws, nobody is held responsible and no one goes to jail.
If you or I commit felony crimes and engage in intimidation of fellow citizens in order to silence their speech and violate their civil rights, we will get drawn up on felony charges by the feds. But when the feds do it, the crimes are ignored.
No wonder everyone is so completely fed up with the IRS and the Obama administration. Across the board, republicans and democrats alike feel outrage at the realization that the Obama government is a rogue criminal mob operating far outside the bounds of law and the constitutional limits of government. There is nothing this government cannot and will not do to stay in power and destroy its critics, including threatening them with IRS attacks if they speak out against Obama.
This is how tyrannies come into being. As Michael Gerson writes in the Washington Post:
In each recent case, government used power in ways that were insular, highly politicized and intimidating. And however individual responsibility is eventually assigned, these attributes are not aberrations in the Obama era. The administration tends to view its actions as above scrutiny and its opponents as beneath contempt.
The result is a paradox. As the ambitions of government in the Obama era have expanded, respect for the institution of government has reached new lows. These scandals add another layer of cynicism. And the practical political effects are very real. Who is more likely this month than last to trust the federal government with the implementation of Obamacare (in part by the IRS), the enforcement of new gun-control laws or the securing of the southern border?
IRS behavior proves conspiracy theorists right
Another interesting realization in all this concerns those of us who have been warning about the runaway criminality of the Obama administration for the last several years. Websites like www.InfoWars.com and www.NaturalNews.com (as well as others) have been blowing the whistle on the criminality of Eric Holder and the Justice Department, which ran Operation Fast and Furious (smuggling guns into Mexico).
We’ve been warning about the selective prosecution of whistleblowers, the rise of government tyranny, government selling out to global banksters and the attempts to intimidate critics of government into silence. All this time, we’ve been labeled “conspiracy theorists” by the mainstream media, which somehow believes there are no such things as conspiracies.
Until now. Suddenly the Associated Press has its phone records seized by the Justice Department in an unlawful attempt to identify the AP’s whistleblower sources who are exposing the criminality of the government itself. The AP has been crying foul over it, taking on almost the exact same kind of tone that InfoWars and NaturalNews have been publishing for years while being accused of “anti-government” leanings. Suddenly the Associated Press is technically the newest “anti-government” group because it’s criticizing the criminality of government gone bad, too. (Yes, in America anyone who points out the criminality of government is instantly labeled “anti-government.”)
Now the world is waking up and realizing the conspiracy theorists were right all along. The Obama administration really is a criminal enterprise run by genuine mobsters and crooks. America really is “occupied” by an enemy force that respects no law and uses its power to dominate and intimidate the people rather than serving them.
We have crossed the Rubicon of criminal government. And the only way to restore liberty at this point is to indict and prosecute the criminals responsible, all the way up the chain as high as it leads.
Because a government that would use the IRS as a political weapon of intimidation would do anything. It makes you think twice about everything you’ve heard on FEMA camps, martial law, false flag attacks, population reduction, fluoride and vaccines, doesn’t it? It forces us all the ask the question: Is there any limit to how far the Obama administration will go to destroy opposition to its agenda of a big government takeover of everything?
Evidence suggests problem of politicization of tax collector far bigger than admitted
The Internal Revenue Service already has confessed to targeting and trying to injure tea party, Constitution and patriot organizations, by demanding answers to arbitrary questions and delaying their applications for a tax status so they could operate.
Now WND has learned that the IRS also put an organization in its bull’s-eye that wanted to do nothing more than share its pro-life message with churches.
Peter Shinn founded the group, because he already was working with ProlifeUnity.com, but as it did not carry the same tax code designation as a religious institution, some churches were reluctant to hear the message from its education materials.
And even more reluctant to participate, Shinn told WND.
The mission of the ProlifeUnity group is to “save the unborn and defend the defenseless, no exceptions, no compromise.”
It organizes pickets, works through email campaigns and takes “direct action” on the dispute.
So Shinn launched Cherish Life Ministries, a separate organization, to offer help to a coalition of churches that supports mothers struggling with unexpected pregnancies, promotes abstinence and advocates for an end to abortion in the community, state and nation.
“Our goal is to assist churches, organize and support a life ministry in defense of life and help function as an outreach to people struggling with unwanted pregnancies in the local community,” the site states.
Education materials are offered.
But Shinn said the IRS contacted him regarding his application for nonprofit status, and was told he didn’t qualify.
“The representative was telling me I had to provide information on all aspects of abortion, I couldn’t just educate the church from the pro-life perspective,” he said. “Every time I pressed her on this issue and asked her to clarify her position, she would state that it wasn’t what she was saying, and then, she would repeat it almost the same way.”
The IRS agent did not respond to a WND request for comment on the ministry’s position.
But Shinn said he was accused of setting up a political organization.
“I asked her why she said we were political organization and she said it was because we had said in our application that we did less than 5 percent political activity. I explained to her that this was what was stated in the application and all we were doing was acknowledging that we were doing less than 5 percent political activity,” he said.
He said the woman then accused him of having links to political activity on his website, even though he said he did not.
“She told me … they were going to deny my application,” he told WND. “She did get nervous though in the end when I pressed her that I wanted specific information about why I had to educate from a pro-abortion perspective not just pro-life. I explained to her that the Pro-Life Action League even has pro-life in their title and they certainly don’t teach pro-abortion topics and they are still 501(c)(3). I also told her that Planned Parenthood does not teach about pro-life issues yet they are also still a 501(c)(3).”
He also told WND that the IRS had rewritten his proposed bylaws “to paint our organization as a political organization. I couldn’t believe they took it upon themselves to do that,” he told WND.
The result is that the IRS gave him 90 days “to prove that we are not involved in political issues at all.”
WND reported when the IRS story broke last week that Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., believes the IRS “confession” was made because Barack Obama wants to distract attention from the scandal of his administration’s behavior when Islamists attacked and killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Bachmann, a former tax attorney and a leader of the congressional tea party caucus, told WND, “There’s no doubt this was not a coincidence that they dumped this story today, a Friday dump day This is when they put their negative stories out.”
But she said the looming storm cloud called Benghazi is the “soft underbelly” of the Obama administration and likely will keep Hillary Clinton from fulfilling her dream of occupying the Oval Office.
That would make it logical to release an IRS story that, while embarrassing, also could be cubbyholed as another “conservative” dispute with the White House.
She was referring to the ongoing hearings on the administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by al-Qaida-linked terrorists on a U.S. foreign service post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the ambassador.
House Republicans allege the U.S. government knew of a terrorist threat but ignored it. After the attack, critics charge, the administration blamed the deaths on reaction to an obscure anti-Muslim video, despite evidence from the beginning that it was a premeditated terrorist attack.
Locked in a tight presidential race, a deliberate assault on American assets and the murder of Americans by al-Qaida on a date as significant as 9/11 would have damaged Obama’s campaign claim that his administration had al-Qaida under control.
Bachmann said the IRS announcement of misbehavior was intended to provoke conservatives and draw their anger and attention.
“I was in that Benghazi hearing,” she told WND. “I think the Obama administration is desperate to spin Benghazi, and they can’t. I think they saved this story up for a day like today so that conservatives would focus on this admission.”
It won’t work, she insisted.
“Conservatives can handle two shocking stories at the same time,” she said. “Both are equally unconstitutional and call into question the very president.”
The IRS confirmed on Friday that it had been targeting groups with “patriot,” “Constitution” or “tea party” in their names for punishment through additional questioning and delays.
The American Center for Law and Justice under Jay Sekulow’s leadership already had been fighting the battle.
“We knew from the very start that this intimidation tactic was coordinated and focused directly on specific organizations,” said Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ.
“This admission by the IRS represents a significant victory for free speech and freedom of association. There was never any doubt that these organizations complied with the law and applied for tax exempt status for their activities as Americans have done for decades. And for the many tax-exempt groups we represent, this is an important day – and underscores the need to stand-up and defend your constitutional freedoms.”
The ACLJ has been representing nearly 30 tea party organizations that had been the target of intimidation tactics by the IRS under the Obama administration.
Among the details the IRS demanded:
- “Have you attempted or will you attempt to influence the outcome of specific legislation? If so, provide the following … all communications, pamphlets, advertisements, and other materials.”
- “Have you conducted or will you conduct candidate forums? If so, provide the following details… The issues that were discussed. Copies of all handouts provided.”
- “The names of persons from your organization and the amount of time they will spend on the event. Indicate the name and amount of compensation that will be paid to each person.”
- “All copies of your corporate minutes from inception.”
- “Please identify your volunteers.”
- “The names of donors, contributors, and grantors.”
- “Do you encourage eligible voters to educate themselves, register to vote, and vote? Explain in detail how you do this.”
- “You were formed 12/28/10. Provide actual financial information for 2010 & 2011, and a budget for 2012. Provide details regarding each item listed.”
Bachmann told WND it’s stunning that the Obama administration used “the federal agency feared most by Americans to intimidate conservative and tea party organizations during an election year.”
Since the IRS also is the chief enforcer of Obamacare requirements, she asked whether the IRS’s admission means it “will deny or delay access to health care” for conservatives.
At this point, she said, that “is a reasonable question to ask.”
Over the weekend, instead of dying, the IRS story turned white-hot.
Fox News reported the House Ways and Means Committee will be holding a hearing and the attacks began as early as 2010, only a little more than a year after Obama took office.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported officials high in the agency knew that was happening as early as 2011, and The Examiner said the IRS also singled out business owners who were critical of the Obama administration.
Politico noted some tea party organizations already have threatened to bring the misbehaving IRS officials into court.
“Given the sheer scope of malfeasance at the IRS, there may be a legal resource,” said Dan Backer, who represents conservative groups.
AP: Feds tapped reporters’ phone records before 2012 election
While embroiled in two major investigations related to the Benghazi attack and the IRS’ admission that it has been targeting conservatives, the Obama administration is now facing a third scandalous accusation: It reportedly spied on Associated Press reporters just months before the 2012 presidential election.
The AP said the Justice Department secretly seized two months of reporters’ and editors’ telephone records without explanation in April and May 2012. In the AP’s report on the scandal, President and CEO Gary Pruitt called the Justice Department’s move “a massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
Pruitt wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding the records and all copies be returned. According to the AP, “News organizations normally are notified ahead of time that the government wants phone records and enter into negotiations over the requested information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption’s wording, might ‘pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.’”
More than 100 journalists who report on government and other matters work in offices the administration targeted. While Justice Department rules call for subpoenas of news records to be approved by Holder, it’s unclear whether he ordered the action.
“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters,” Pruitt told Holder. “These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”
According to reports, the Obama administration still hasn’t provided a reason for the seizure or revealed whether a judge or a grand jury signed off on the subpoenas.
“Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot,” the AP reported. “The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
“In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an ‘unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.’”
The AP said the 2012 terror plot was “significant both because of its seriousness and also because the White House previously had told the public it had ‘no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden’s death.’”
According to the news organization, the story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. Those reporters, along with editor Ted Bridis, had their phone records seized.
It is believed the government obtained the records from phone companies, and it’s still unclear whether the actual phone calls were monitored.
The AP noted, “The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media and has brought six cases against people suspected of providing classified information, more than under all previous presidents combined.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the investigative House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CNN, “They had an obligation to look for every other way to get it before they intruded on the freedom of the press.”
The House Ways and Means Committee said it will hold a hearing on the IRS matter Friday.
News of the phone records seizure comes amid reports of numerous scandals plaguing the Obama administration, including an investigation into its response to the Benghazi terror attack and the Internal Revenue Service’s Friday admission that it had targeted conservative groups with descriptions including “tea party” and “patriots” with increased scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
“I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it,” Obama said Monday, referring to the IRS’ actions while he made a White House appearance with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.”
Obama said he first learned about the issue Friday. The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to issue an audit report this week.
According to NBC News, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division on tax-exempt organizations, claimed the IRS’ actions were “inappropriate” but “absolutely not” influenced by the White House.
The News Tribune reported that acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller – who had been informed of the issue on May 3, 2012 – “repeatedly failed to tell Congress that tea-party groups were being inappropriately targeted, even after he had been briefed on the matter.”
In June 2011, members of Congress sent letters to former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman inquiring about its targeting of conservatives. NBC News noted, “The IRS responded at least six times but made no mention of targeting conservatives.”
Meanwhile, the simultaneous investigations have put Obama on the defensive.
In his Friday appearance on “The Rusty Humphries Show,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., suggested Obama’s role in the Benghazi cover-up could lead to the president’s impeachment.
Inhofe said, “People may be starting to use the I-word before too long.”